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NEW DAY SUNDAY
Kavanaugh Accuser Tentatively Agrees to Testify Thursday; South Carolina Residents Brace for Dangerous Flooding; Sexual Assault Survivors Highlight Scale of Problem; Bill Cosby Sentencing Starts Tomorrow; Iran Blames U.S. and Its Allies for Parade Shooting; Michelle Obama Rallies Voters in Vegas Tonight; Tiger on Brink of First Win in Five Years. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired September 23, 2018 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:00:00] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Something old, something new, something blue.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, but in an interview with the British broadcaster, the duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, revealed that she had a piece of the blue dress she wore on her first date with Prince Harry stitched into her gown.
PAUL: That was something, too.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: Thursday at 10:00 a.m., that is when Brett Kavanaugh's accuser will tentatively speak to the Senate judiciary committee.
PAUL: We still don't know if the hearing is public or private or who is speaking first. Those details are being discussed on a conference call late today.
Here's CNN's Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue.
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Its looks like Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser Christine Blasey Ford will be facing senators at an historic hearing on Thursday that could be very well determine the fate of Kavanaugh's nomination. While Ford alleges that Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party some 30 years ago, he categorically denies the allegations, but that are still more details to be worked out between lawyers for Ford and the Judiciary Committee before the hearing is final. They plan to talk later on on Sunday to hammer out remaining issues. Lawyers for Ford believe that Republican senators should question Ford, some in the GOP want to hire an outside counsel, maybe a woman, to do the questioning. Also, Ford thinks other witnesses should be called. For instance, they want to call Mark Judge, who Ford has said was in the room where the alleged assault has happened. Judge says he has no memory of the party.
But Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley says only two witnesses, Ford and Kavanaugh.
Ariane de Vogue, CNN, Washington.
BLACKWELL: Ariane, thank you.
And as the negotiations continue, Republican staffers are working to interview those who may have information about the alleged incident. Democrats such as Senator Dianne Feinstein are praising Ford, tweeting this: She has shown tremendous courage in the face of death threats and harassment.
And joining us for the White House's response, Sarah Westwood, CNN White House reporter. She is live in Berkeley Heights, in New Jersey, near where the president's golf club is located.
So, what is the White House saying?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Victor, the White House is highlighting the fact that a fourth person who Christine Blasey Ford claims was at the party where the alleged assault took place is now saying she has no memory of ever attending an event where Brett Kavanaugh was also present. Other people Ford has been named as having been at that party have also said they don't remember the alleged assault.
The White House saying this in a statement: One week ago, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford claimed she was assaulted at a house party attended by four others. Since then, all four of these individuals have provided statements to the denying any knowledge of the incident or even having attended such a party.
Now, Ford's legal team asked others people to be subpoenaed but none of them say they remember the alleged assault and Chairman Chuck Grassley has said only Ford and Kavanaugh should testify next week.
Ford's legal team saying this in a statement responding to the White House: It's not surprising that she has no recollection of the evening as they did not discuss it. It's also unremarkable that she does not remember attending a special gathering 30 years ago at which nothing of consequence happened to her. Dr. Ford of course will never forget this gathering because of what happened to her there.
Now, we should note that while this alleged witness says she doesn't remember the party in question, she did tell "The Washington Post" that she believes Christine Blasey Ford. And meanwhile, a top aide to President Trump is maintaining the Republican line that Ford should be heard and Kavanaugh should be defended.
Here is what Kellyanne Conway had to say last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: The White House respects the process. This is still part of the Senate confirmation hearing of Judge Kavanaugh as a nominee to Supreme Court. This is not a criminal proceeding. This is not a civil proceeding. This is another part. Of course, it was all done until they came up with this in the eleventh and one half hour.
This is part of the Senate confirmation hearing. What I think important to note is Judge Kavanaugh, this man of integrity and intellect and character, he has said he has never done this to anyone, including her. So, that's really definitive and unequivocal. And he's also said he wasn't at the party.
So, she will have it -- these allegations are serious. We take them seriously. We want to hear from her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WESTWOOD: And, of course, this all comes against the backdrop of Trump's recent attacks on Ford, setting the White House up for a complicated week navigating their way to a hearing on Thursday, Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: Complicated, indeed. Sarah Westwood for us there in New Jersey, thank you.
PAUL: So, Errol Louis, CNN political commentator and political anchor for Spectrum News is with us now. As well as Kelly Jane Torrance, deputy managing editor of "The Weekly Standard."
[07:05:02] Good morning to both of you.
Errol, to you first, should this hearing be held publicly or privately?
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, in a way it doesn't really matter. Even if it's held privately, what you'll end up having is Dr. Blasey going forward and coming on CNN or some other kind of network. She will be heard. I mean, if she wants to be heard, it will be a national forum. Congress is the appropriate one.
I think the bickering and the bargaining over who and when and who gets to go first and so forth, it sound like it is really condensed down to something that both sides are going to be able to live with. Both sides won't be happy with every element of it but I think we are going to hear from her this week.
PAUL: But, Kelly Jane, is it important for Americans, who are interested in this, to be able to watch how senators engage with her, how they listen to her and how they react to what she says?
KELLY JANE TORRANCE, DEPUTY MANAGING EDITOR, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: That's a great question, Christi. And I think it is important, especially given how some people in the Republican Party have responded to this allegation. I have to say it's kind of funny that Republicans are wanting to have an outside lawyer come into question her because they would like to have a woman question her because, of course, that would make them look a little more sympathetic. Well, maybe they should have thought, hey, why not do we have a single
female senator on the Judiciary Committee? I mean, you know, this is something that I'm surprised nobody had noticed before and talked about before. It really is their own fault for not being able to find a single. There are plenty of qualified Republican female senators that could have been on that committee and I find it very interesting that they now want to bring someone in from the outside to question her.
PAUL: Well, OK, I think that she had said she didn't want to talk to senators initially so they offered to bring somebody else in and then she had, no, I will only talk to senators if I have that correct.
Listen, Tara Setmayer, I was listening to her yesterday, and she said, I think it was political malpractice on the part of the Democrat to allow this woman's name to be made public when she requested to be anonymous.
Errol, what was -- is there a protocol? What was Senator Feinstein supposed to do if she got this information and wanted to try to honor the anonymity that was asked for?
LOUIS: My understanding is that she did honor the anonymity. In the end, it was Dr. Ford came forward herself. I mean, if you get --
PAUL: But somebody leaked something somewhere.
TORRANCE: Reporters were showing up to her house.
PAUL: They were going to her house and where she worked. They figured out who she was. Somebody leaked. Should a leaker be held responsible or accountable in some regard?
LOUIS: You know, we're all in the business of getting information that people don't necessarily want to go public. So, look, I have a hard time believing that somebody who made this kind of a complaint even with an earnest request for anonymity to a U.S. senator would have somehow imagined it never would have come out.
I mean, this sort of thing, it just doesn't -- to speak to a truly private transaction. If you go to the authorities are information saying, look, this is something you need to know, please keep my name out of it, you are all running the risk that your name is going to come out.
I think the subsidiary question of who leaked, which staffer, what were their intention and what were the politics of a possible leak, are, you know, I mean, look, not only hat ship sailed, but I think we could have anticipated all along that something like that would happen. If she was tremendously brave by putting forward her information even anonymously and she had to know somewhere in the back of her mind that this was a possibility.
PAUL: Anybody, I think, watching this will tell you we know that politics are at play here, in terms, especially of the time line of this. Because, you know, some people are saying, listen, we need the FBI to look at this. What is the harm of the FBI trying to establish what happened?
At the end of the day, it's going to be a he said/she had. We know just this the morning from the four people that the Judiciary Committee has talked to. They can't give any more clarity to what is happening.
What is the value of an FBI investigation, Kelly Jane?
TORRANCE: Yes, that's a great question, Christi. And, it is -- you know, of course, Judge Kavanaugh has already gone through a number of FBI background checks for his previous appointments. You know, they didn't know about this. But you're right, I mean, people say, well, let's get the FBI investigating this. Well, it seems -- what more could they know as Errol points out, we journalists have been looking into this and everybody, of course, wants to get the real story.
And I think that as you say, it sort of comes down to a he said/she said. And, really, you know, we are never going to know exactly what happened and I think at this point we kind of partly can judge based on people's reactions to what happened. For example, did Judge Kavanaugh give the okay to conservative lawyer and think tanker Ed Whalen to, for example, to have a tweet suggesting it was someone else and naming that person?
[07:10:08] I think that is a very important question. We'll never know what exactly happened 36 years ago, but we can look at, hey, what happened now and how did people respond and what is that say about their character?
PAUL: Errol --
LOUIS: You know, one of the most important aspects of an FBI investigation is as people have found out, in many case, the hard way. If you lie to the FBI what even is a casual conversation, you've now independently committed a crime for which there would be severe consequence. And it sounds in many ways that is driving the Republican refusal, the White House refusal to get the Justice Department involved.
I mean, once you go from I don't remember or I was young, drunk, and stupid, and you go to this never happened and you're in effect saying that with legal consequences if you're not telling the truth and you risk the possibility of being found out to not have told the truth to the FBI, it really raises the stakes in a lot of ways.
So, I'm not at all surprised that the Kavanaugh forces don't want to go anywhere near the FBI if they don't have a story that they are comfortable telling with those kind of consequences.
PAUL: All righty. Errol Louis and Kelly Jane Torrance, thank you both with being here early on a Sunday morning. Always good to have your perspective.
TORRANCE: Thanks, Chris.
LOUIS: Thank you. PAUL: Absolutely. And make sure to stay with CNN throughout the
morning, by the way. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Senator Mazie Hirono join Jake Tapper on "STATE OF THE UNION" at 9:00 Eastern. Then at 10:00 a.m., a CN exclusive, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg joins "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS".
BLACKWLEL: Well, the next 24 hours across South Carolina will be critical. Floodwaters are rising.
Nick Valencia is in Conway, South Carolina, this morning.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Victor. Good morning.
Nine days after Hurricane Florence made landfall, nine days, you have communities still dealing with flooding. I'm Nick Valencia in Conway, South Carolina.
Coming up after the break, we'll bring you to yet another county in this state that's dealing with flooding and we'll tell you what authorities are saying about the days ahead.
You're watching CNN's NEW DAY this Sunday.
[07:16:15] PAUL: Well, floodwaters are receding in North Carolina. In South Carolina, though, they are still breaking some record.
Part of the city of Conway, for instance, they are still under water and the rivers are actually still rising there.
BLACKWELL: The families and official have been finalizing evacuation plans and organizing rescue team for days. Emergency officials further south in Georgetown say they are at the end of the line and these floods could be devastating to some of the oldest communities there.
CNN reporter and correspondent Nick Valencia is in Conway, South Carolina, in the morning.
Nick, the water, is it creeping up and for how long is it expected to continue to rise?
VALENCIA: Good morning, Victor. It is still creeping up. It's just stunning to see these types of images around the city of Conway. Parts of Conway are under water. The entire city was expecting some kind of flooding and over the weekend they thought Main Street would flood, that's not the case. But this is what we're dealing with still here, in various subdivisions throughout Conway, as that water continues to creep into these residents' homes here.
The good news in all of this, though, is it seems to have at least stabilized for now. That river was rising at a rate of about two feet per day since we got here earlier this week. Last night, it was about a foot. But it's still increasing. We are nearing 20 feet, level of 20 feet on the Waccamaw River and
that's what's causing all of this here. What is essentially happening here in this subdivision is you have two bodies of water. You have a swamp and a river that are converging, causing problems like this.
Residents for the most part, in this area have been able to get out. They secured their belongings but there were still others who yesterday as we understand it from the national guard and the local emergency management that were getting water assist so they were able to get out of their homes but not without assistance from the local authorities. This is going to be the scene in Georgetown about 40 miles away. As that water continues to drain south down river, Georgetown one of the ole communities in South Carolina, is expected to get stuff like this and this is just a mess to deal with this weekend. Authorities, though, are kind of holding their breath now seeing that that river is stabilizing, that this continues to not be as bad throughout the city -- Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: All right. Nick Valencia watching the continuing flooding there in South Carolina. Nick, thank you.
PAUL: You know, it's been two years since the launch of the #MeToo movement. How the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh is testing the impact of that social movement.
[07:23:21] PAUL: Twenty-three minutes past the hour right now.
And we know there is a conference call set for this afternoon as Senate Republicans and attorneys for Brett Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford hammer out details ahead of her planned testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, Republican leaders are urging President Trump to stay quiet and stay off Twitter about the process. This is after he questioned why Ford never reported the alleged sexual abuse to the FBI 36 years.
PAUL: In response to the president's comments, women across social media are sharing some of their darkest moments in theirs lives and they are launching an online confessional using the #whyIdidntreport.
BLACKWELL: Just like the #MeToo movement, women are using the why I didn't report hashtag to illustrate how widespread a problem sexual assault is. The headline from "The New York Times" this article captures the sentiment that Kavanaugh confirmation fight is a test of how far the #MeToo movement has come.
Joining us again is Brian Stelter, CNN senior media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES."
Brian, good morning again.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: We are seeing this growing as quickly almost as what we saw from the #MeToo movement.
STELTER: Yes. I completely agree with that and why I'm so struck by this confessional that we are seeing on social media. For all of the ills of social media, for all we talk about the horrible downside of our digital age, it is remarkable that people are able to share their own stories in their own way.
We saw that one year ago with me too. You remember, Harvey Weinstein, the story about him that happened last October? Then about a week later, this #MeToo hash tag started to emerge and it became much more than one day story about Harvey Weinstein and it become a movement that we're still talking about a year later.
[07:25:09] Now, you look at this new one, why I didn't report and that's a hashtag that lets people organize their stories on Twitter. We have seen thousands of accounts of people saying here is why like Christine Blasey Ford, I did not share my account of wrongdoing.
You can see a few examples here on screen. One person saying, my mom said she would kill and wanted to hurt me at 9 years old and I believed her. And another person saying, he was a friend of my parents and I knew they'd never believe me. And a third person says I was 15 and it took me years to even understand that it wasn't my file.
These are frequent comments and frequent explanations according to the group Rain which tracks this problem and provides support and counseling to victims of sexual assault. People frequently say they didn't think they would be believed, they thought they were going to be blamed, they felt shamed and a lot of this online activity, guys, is actually triggered by President Trump. He spurred this the other day with a tweet where he cast doubt on Ford's allegation. We can remind you of that Tweet and put it on the screen. Trump basically said if it was as bad as she said, why didn't she tell anybody, why didn't she go to the police right away?
So, that was the president's tweet one more that cause this hashtag, really got it going and cause it to erupt on social media. It was as if the president doesn't understand the basics about why people don't report sexual assault and so, now, you have thousands of people on social media trying to tell him why.
PAUL: And any indication that politicians are paying attention to this hashtag and what they are saying and if there could be any sort of shift, any sort of consequence?
STELTER: You know, I'm seeing this breakdown mostly on partisan lines like everything involved in the Kavanaugh debate. We have seen some prominent Democratic politicians using this hashtag, repeating it, promoting it and encouraging people to feel safe coming forward. Rain has a sexual assault hot line people can reach out to if they feel for the first time they would like to seek help.
It is absolutely true that there is oftentimes a delay when it comes to victim sexual assault or violence. They do not want to come toward right away. So, Ford's story is not unique, but we are seeing all of the conversations around Ford's story breaking down on partisan lines. I think we should keep in mind as we head into this possible day of
testimony, Kavanaugh is coming in not as an incredibly strong nominee with a huge amount of approval but instead actually with relatively weak approval and this cuts on partisan lines but the most recent poll, NBC/"The Wall Street Journal" poll, that is a reflection of nearly a week's news coverage of Ford's accusation finds Kavanaugh to be in a pretty weak position, especially among women. You see here 28 percent women supporting of Kavanaugh's nomination, 42 percent opposing, the rest unsure or undecided.
As with everything else, this breaks along political lines as everything else. But this is not a nominee who has incredible public support. It's actually quite the contrary.
BLACKWELL: All right. Brian Stelter, thanks so much.
And be sure to watch Stelter's show "RELIABLE SOURCES". That's only on CNN at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.
PAUL: And, you know, this week, there is going to be another sexual assault case in the spotlight. Former TV star Bill Cosby's sentencing begins tomorrow. He is convicted of three counts of indecent assault, of drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in 2004. He could get probation to ten years for each count.
Joey Jackson, CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney, with us right now.
So, Joey, first and foremost, OK, so he could serve 30 years, he could serve nothing. What do you make of the fact that he might serve no jail time? How plausible is it?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it's certainly plausible, Christi. Good morning to you. But highly unlikely. You know, when we talk about sentencing here, as you mentioned, it could be from probation to 30.
Let's just remind people how we got there. He was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent account and each count carrying ten years but more likely the judge will run any sentence concurrently. What that mean in English, although it could be 10, 10, 10, if the judge runs it consecutively that gets you to the 30, but since the actual conviction stems from the same transaction and occurrence we call (INAUDIBLE) as it related to his abuse of Andrew Constand, it's likely the judge will look at it probation to ten years.
And so, that would be the parameters and the judge will have to decide what within the 0 to 10 is appropriate and that is based on a number of things. It will be based on victim impact statement from Andrea Constand. We certainly know the judge did not, did not for the purposes of this proceeding allow up to the 60 accusers to come in and testify as to what he did as it relates to uncharged crime.
[07:30:04] And so, the judge has a lot to think about.
And remember that this is against the backdrop of an incredible movement, #MeToo which has had resounding success in holding people accountable. A relates to the last interview even, we are talking about judge Kavanaugh. So, the timing could not be, you know, more germane and appropriate to what is going on in the universe concerning women, women's rights and abuse of women.
PAUL: So, let me ask you this. He could walk into that Pennsylvania courtroom and possibly not walk out a free man again. He could also be designated a sexually violent predator. What are the ramifications of that, Joey?
JACKSON: Well, what happens is, is that when you're a sexually violent predator, of course, there are counseling requirements that are mandatory on a monthly basis, there are reporting requirements concerning where you're geographically located and it's essentially, you know, a mark upon who you are and what you do and an alert to the community concerning your presence there. And so, that would be a lifetime registry.
Of course, we know he is 81 years old and, you know, who knows. And so, even as it relates to the registry or as it relates to prison, he is really looking at a life sentence on both purposes. And so --
PAUL: I only have -- I only have about 15, 20 second left but I want to ask you how likely he would be released on house arrest, you know, until appeal, which we know would be coming by his attorneys, or that he would be handcuffed and taken and incarcerated immediately?
JACKSON: You know, I think his attorneys will move to have him out pending appeal because there are significant appealable issues. Remember the judge would have to make that decision in terms of allowing him to go out or allowing him to go home.
To this point, we know the judge could have put him in upon his conviction in April. The judge didn't do that. But I think it would be, you know, certainly unlikely that the judge would allow that, particularly given the climate and particularly given the charges and the conviction here.
PAUL: All right. Joey Jackson, thank you, my friend, for always breaking it down for us.
JACKSON: Thank you.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Iran is blaming U.S. allies for the terror attack at that military parade yesterday. We'll have more for you of what the Iranian president is saying.
[07:36:37] PAUL: Well, Iran's president lashing out at the U.S. today after yesterday's terror attack.
BLACKWELL: The U.S. is condemning the attack where the shooter disguised at security forces started shooting on a military parade. At least 29 people were killed. Iranian officials are blaming separatists but they also say the attackers had foreign support from countries including the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
PAUL: Phil Mudd, CNN counterterrorism analyst, former CIA counterterrorism official and FBI senior intelligence adviser, is with us now.
Phil, good morning. Glad to see you.
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Good morning.
PAUL: I want to read what President Hassan Rouhani said just a little while ago. He said the Iranian government knows the, quote, perpetrators and instructors of Saturday's terrorist attack and will not leave the bloodshed unanswered. The government is ready to counter any action by the U.S. and the Americans will regret this. The U.S. will not accomplish their goals in Iran.
How do you believe Rouhani will retaliate if he does?
MUDD: I'm not sure you're what seeing retaliation much outside. What he is referring to is backing for groups like this or alleged backing for groups like this from countries like Qatar or Saudi Arabia. The tension of those countries, though, is evident outside Iran. You see fighting between Saudi and Iran-backed groups in places like Syria and Yemen. I wouldn't be surprised to see some Iranian operations in those questions.
But I question Rouhani's claims that the Americans are backing these guys in Iran, though. I don't think that's happening.
PAUL: The U.S. fleet, though, is in the gulf to protect the oil shipping routes. Do you have a fear for those fleets?
MUDD: I don't have a fear for them but given what we've seen in the past day or so from Secretary of State Pompeo, with some pretty incendiary language about the Iranians, the law of unintended consequence is really important here. If you look at a map and how tight the Strait of Hormuz is, that's where the oil is exiting the Arabian Gulf, the American and Iranian navies are always active there. The Iranians sometimes attempt to provoke the Americans to see what the American Navy will do.
You make one mistake there in a situation like this that is really tight, you could see something that neither side anticipates. That's what I worry about, the unanticipated consequence.
PAUL: Yes. And you just mentioned Secretary of State Pompeo. Let's listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: We will not let Iran get away with using a proxy force to attack an American interest. Iran will be held accountable for those instances.
ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Even militarily? POMPEO: They're going to be held accountable. If they are responsible for the arming and training of these militias, we're going to go to the source.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Interview there with CNN. That language draws an image, I think, of the U.S. and Iran standing at a line, Phil, and kind of this stare-down.
With that said, how close is the U.S. to some sort of real altercation with Iran, do you think?
MUDD: I don't think very close but let's understand, we have opportunities in the United States short of some direct confrontation with the Iranians. I mentioned early Iranian activities with militias in places like Yemen and Syria. You could easily see the Americans saying, we want to up the ante how we either directly engage with those Iranian-backed militias or help other countries like Saudi Arabia engage with them.
I don't think what the secretary is talking about his language is tough to read, but I don't think he is talking about a during the time confrontation with Iran. Let's cut to the chase. What the heck are you going to do? Stage an attack in Iran? That's not going to happen.
PAUL: How do you think this is going to affect the United Nations General Assembly?
[07:40:04] MUDD: The problem we have there, I mean, there will be some effect. The Iranians are going to get up and speak about this. The -- I could see the Russians who are longtime Iranian counterparts and supporters speaking about this.
The problem we have when you look at the American perspective and American isolation overseas as we have challenged everybody from NATO and the G-7 to the North Koreans is that the Iranians will turn to their traditional allies Russians and Chinese and say, hey, the Americans are the aggressors here, why don't you protect us? And the Russians and Chinese, I'm going to tell you, are going to say, we're with the Iranians on this one.
PAUL: So interesting.
Phil Mudd, we love your perspective.
MUDD: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you so much for being here.
BLACKWELL: Forty-four days until the midterm elections and Obamas are now out campaigning. Why former President Obama is saying this election is more important than any other in his lifetime. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[07:45:07] BLACKWELL: Quarter until the top of the hour.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama is in Las Vegas tonight to rally voters and spotlight the issues at stake ahead of the midterm election. Joining me now to discuss is Democratic strategist and founder of CATECOMM, Kevin Cate. Kevin was also a spokesman for the Obama campaign back in 2008.
Kevin, good morning to you.
KEVIN CATE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good morning, Victor.
BLACKWELL: The effort is or the organization is When We All Vote. Michelle Obama is getting back on the road. She is making an effort to get people to vote, not like her husband, the former president, to vote for Democrats.
Why is she focusing on a nonpartisan initiative?
CATE: Well, I think what you're seeing with the Obamas in general, specifically the former first lady, is the politic of addition versus the politics of division which, you know, you see what they are trying to do is add voters and make sure to remind people not to boo as the former president used to say, but to go vote. And what is happening is when you add these voters, when you speak to the values that every day voters have, it doesn't have to be divisive. It doesn't have to be the rhetoric we have heard from Donald Trump.
So, while they are out registering voters, you see Donald Trump's rallies just trying to register insult. So I think what this is reminding people of is a time before the poison of Donald Trump's politics.
BLACKWELL: But is there a contradiction here between what the former president, the former first lady are saying? The president is saying, listen, you've got to get out and vote and this is if you want accountability for the president, you've got to vote for Democrats.
But that's not what we are hearing from Michelle Obama. She is just getting people registered and getting them to vote, and there are Democratic candidates who say, listen, she is the biggest name on the list of potential endorsements or surrogates. We need her to come out and say vote for us.
CATE: Yes. I mean, there's no doubt she is our Beyonce. Everybody loves Michelle Obama, but I don't think it's contradictory if that's your question, because what the president is saying, he is reminding people of bringing people together, the former first lady is reminding people to vote.
I think what the candidates do and the candidates have an obligation to do this because this election is not about what Donald Trump would like to be about which is Hillary Clinton. It's about real issues and Democrats all across the country need to be reminded that we have to give people something to vote for and not against. That was the big lesson in 2016.
While the Obamas can carry part of this message, it's up to these candidates to give people a reason to vote. In 2008, people remember the hope and the change. They don't remember but the Obamas campaigned on very specific issues, health care being one of them, which we are seeing that come back full circle now.
But these are, you know, issues that the Democratic candidates actually have to carry. It's not something they can put on the shoulder of the Obama's.
BLACKWELL: So, this appears to be focused on young people going through social media, lots of celebrities. But we know, especially during midterms, that the youth vote is dramatically lower than other groups.
Let's put up the numbers from the 2014 midterms, 18 to 29-year-olds made up just 13 percent of the electorate there. How is this different?
I mean, we have seen Rock the Vote. We've seen other get out the vote efforts focused on young people, celebrity-driven, well-funded and through social media, on the networks and channels and platforms that they watch.
How will this be different?
CATE: Well, I think it's different. Number one, we are in a different political environment. I live in Florida. You saw what happened in Parkland and Pulse in Orlando. These are individual in a whole generation that is tired of, you know, the angry grandpa Donald Trump, you know, spewing angry rhetoric and not carrying about them and not being able to relate to them.
I do think as cynical you can get being a political consultant what we are seeing on the ground here with candidates who are energizing this vote in Florida, Mayor Andrew Gillum running against a Donald Trump acolyte in Ron DeSantis.
I think you're seeing massive amounts of energy from young people, people of color who are ready to stand up and participate in democracy unlike they have ever done before. And as the president, former President Obama reminds us, the system isn't broke. It's working for many of the people who are participating in the system. What's happened is the people who need to be participating, the young people, people who are underrepresented are getting out there and voting and the Obama's can carry that message and when we give people a reason to vote for something and not just against that's how we win. That is how we get young people to the polls.
BLACKWELL: You brought up the governor's race there in Florida. The Democrat Gillum versus the Republican, Congressman DeSantis -- I should say Mayor Gillum to give him his due.
CATE: Yes, sir. BLACKWELL: And I want to ask you about a visit from the president. We know the president will be out. He said at his rally in Missouri that you're not voting for the candidates on the ballot, you're voting for me.
[07:50:05] Does a visit from President Trump help or hurt the Democrat that you're working with there, Gillum in Florida?
CATE: Well, we know, the president, the current President Donald Trump is toxic to many voters, especially FEMA voters and anybody that is what you would consider a swing voter, granted he won the state, but this is an entirely different makeup of the electorate that we see and a different political climate. I certainly would invite the president to come down there and hold hands with Ron DeSantis early and often as possible, because I do think that will energize the voters that we need, because they'll remember what's at stake.
But it's not just -- and I got to remind you this, it's not just anti- Trump. We've got to give people a reason to vote for something, and that's what Mayor Gillum is certainly doing here in Florida and that's what other candidates are doing in Ohio, California, these other states that the Obamas are visiting, is reminding people of the issues like health care, like wages that are actually important to everyday working voters.
BLACKWELL: Kevin Cate, good to have you back.
CATE: Great. Thanks, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Thank you.
PAUL: All right. So, we're going to be watching Tiger Woods today, because he's aiming for his first win in five years. Coy Wire is going to break down what we can see.
[07:55:44] PAUL: You know, today starts one more ride around the world with Anthony Bourdain. Here is a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST, "ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN": (INAUDIBLE) and goat head soup, a global classic, slow-cooked well goat's head. My companion, Mr. Bell, unaccustomed as he is to the ways of Africa is new to this dish.
I don't want to sound all Colonel Mustard, but I eat this dish for breakfast by now, you know what I mean?
KAMAU BELL: I hear the words goat head soup, and I think, oh, it will be meat from the goat head in a soup.
BELL: Oh, no, I see a full-on head of a goat. (END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Watch "ANTHONY BOURDAIN'S PARTS UNKNOWN" tonight at 9:00 Eastern, only on CNN.
BLACKWELL: Not much can take college football out of our "Bleacher Report" on a fall Sunday.
PAUL: Tiger Woods, maybe, on the verge of winning for the first time in five years. Maybe, maybe that does it.
COY WIRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this big news today. Nobody can move the meter like Tiger Woods, especially in the world of golf. The fans get into it, the TV ratings, because they want to see this guy try to overcome some demons and try to overcome back surgeries.
He's making a remarkable return at one of the biggest tournaments, the Tour Championship. Everyone wondering, is this the time he will become a champ again? He started the third round on fire, 6 of the first 7 holes, birdie. He finished 5 under with a three-shot lead. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: Feels great to have worked my way into this spot, you know. I would love to be able to win this event. I've got a three-shot lead. I've got a bunch of guys behind me that have been playing well and are playing well. And, you know, we'll see what happens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WIRE: Tiger's never even blown a two-shot lead at a PGA event after three rounds, so all the eyes of the sporting world on Tiger for today's final round. Can one of the best closers in the history of the sport actually get her done and win for the first time in over half a decade?
But I have to ask, I'm back here from Austin. It's good to be back, and they come in asking me, Coy, you're a fitness guy. We need to figure out. What's going on?
PAUL: First of all, it's Victor's birthday Wednesday.
BLACKWELL: Wednesday, yes.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, thank you.
PAUL: So, he's complaining because he says, I have five days of cake. There are people who are going to give him five different cakes.
BLACKWELL: Yes, there are cakes coming.
PAUL: Because we love you so much. BLACKWELL: And I appreciate the love. I can't eat cake for five
PAUL: It's your birthday. Why not?
WIRE: Yes, you can.
BLACKWELL: I don't have -- you know, y'all -- I have a very different build, right? And I need to plan out calories across the week.
WIRE: Let me say, he's very serious about his fitness.
PAUL: He is.
WIRE: I found out last week, he has a sweat car. He kept an old hooptie car.
BLACKWELL: Fourteen years old.
WIRE: That he drives only to the gym so he doesn't get sweat on the seat.
PAUL: He does.
BLACKWELL: It's 14 years old. I drive it to the gym and back. It's ripped up and dented. I just don't want to mess up the car and have it smell sweaty when I come to work.
WIRE: I wouldn't step the commitment to your health and fitness, but eat the cake, though.
PAUL: Eat the cake. Thank you. Yes. Thank you.
WIRE: I'm with you, Christi.
BLACKWELL: There'll be one slice and there will be cake at work for five days.
PAUL: So, I'm going to buy this cake and you're going to have one slice?
BLACKWELL: How many slices did you think I would have?
PAUL: Go buy him a cake.
WIRE: I'll take the whole thing.
BLACKWELL: Look at Coy's abs. Come on. He's got room to absorb a cake.
PAUL: So do kids. Kids can absorb cake so easily.
BLACKWELL: Yes, and burn it off, too.
PAUL: So, here, take a look at these toddlers, getting a lot of social media. They love garbage trucks. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
PAUL: Some people sitting there, trying to see Tiger Woods. They just want to see this, Caleb and James.
BLACKWELL: They're like Transformers. How could you not love them?
Listen, Caleb and James, 3 years old, best friends, Tucson, Arizona. On garbage day, they have a front row seat there of their favorite show, even with the shades.
PAUL: Thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it. And you go make good memories today.
BLACKWELL: Thanks for starting with us.
"INSIDE POLITICS WITH JOHN KING" starts in just a few seconds.